The Double Whammy Defined
What is it?
Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) is a condition that affects both your skin and your joints:
- Itchy, scaly, raised red patches
- Silvery white scales
- Painful, swollen, or stiff joints
- Decreased mobility
There are a few things that you should know about Psoriatic Arthritis:
1. It’s a chronic condition.
It is a long-lasting condition that cannot be cured. But it CAN be managed with proper education and treatment, usually provided by a rheumatologist.
2. It’s a progressive disease.
This means that generally, the earlier a diagnosis is made the sooner the joint damage can be slowed or paused with appropriate medication.
3. It’s an inflammatory disease.
Those with PsA will experience pain, stiffness, redness, swelling, or even a feeling of warmth or heat in their joints.
4. With early detection and appropriate treatment, it can be managed!
Although Psoriatic Arthritis is a chronic condition, early detection and appropriate treatment can help reduce symptoms and prevent joint destruction.
Who does it affect?
Both men and women are affected in roughly equal numbers, generally between the ages of 20-50 – but it can strike at any age.
Of those who already experience the red, itchy, scaly skin patches associated with Psoriasis:
- Between 10% to 30% will develop Psoriatic Arthritis
- It may be many years before joint pain appears
In the general population, it is estimated that 0.15% to 0.25% of people are affected by Psoriatic Arthritis
How does a person develop Psoriatic Arthritis?
The causes of Psoriatic Arthritis are not fully understood.
But we do know that like Psoriasis, Psoriatic Arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. In Psoriasis, the immune system mistakenly goes into “overdrive,” causing skin cells to grow too quickly. A similar response occurs with Psoriatic Arthritis: your immune system mistakenly attacks the joints, leading to inflammation, pain and swelling.
Could injury or illness trigger it?
It’s thought that illness or an injury to a joint may play a role in triggering PsA – but how this works is not fully understood.
There’s a link to family history.